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"At the bottom of this Post lies a BIG, BIG Man. . . . "

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I hope Jimmy Dean(the "Sausage will forgive me for borrowing his Top Ten Hit of the 60's "BIG JOHN"

This song always reminded me of my Dad and since I just finished sending "Cyber Fathers' Day Cards" to my three brothers; I wanted to take the time to remember my Dad. . . . . He is gone now, but so much of what he was he gave to his kids and I am PROUD to be like him in many ways.

He was the second in a family of six children. Born and raised in Butterfield, MO. (an Ozark Mountain town on the MO./AR. border. His father was a mail carrier(delivered the mail on foot or horse back in the early 1900's). His mother was 1/2 Sioux indian. My father was "still-born" and left for dead, wrapped in a blanket, while the Mid-wife tended to his Mom. Later, when his Dad went to get the small body for burial; he was found to be still breathing(barely). The Mid-wife revived him by putting him in first hot and then cold basins of water. It was thought that he would always be a scrauny kid and maybe not live very long. My Dad proved them wrong! He was 6'8" 220 lbs. by age 13!!! He always worked hard on a dirt-poor farm and many times pulled a plow when no mule was available.

He enlisted in the Army in 1942 and became a mechanic in the Army Air Corp
during WWII. He met my Mom in Miami Beach. FL. at a Blood Drive Dance at the USO Hall. They knew eachother 10 days and had 2 dates before he married her. They were together 48 hrs. before he shipped out to the Pacific front. He did not return to her for almost 3 yrs. and was listed MIA for over 18 mos. of that time.

My parents had 6 kids and I can't remember a day when I was growing up on the farm that they weren't up well before dawn and not in bed until after 10:00p.m.

A lot of people saw my Dad as a Big, Gruff (stern) man who did not tolerate disrespect from his kids and taught them that "what we get in this life we work for. . . "

They did not see the man who loved his wife and kids to a fault. Could stretch a dollar (with Mom's help) into next week. Had respect for all living things: cried like a baby when his favorite spaniel got poisioned, could barely bring himself to take down rabbits and squirrels to feed his faily in "lean" times, stayed up all night in the dead of winter to help a cow calve and ward off the coyotes, brought ino the house a discarded "runt" piglet and placed it in a box, by the cookstove in the kitchen, on a towel-wrapped hot water bottle and bottle fed it. That piglet lived to follow my Dad around the farm like a pet dog!

He taught me to fish(had to bait yor own hook or you couldn't go). He taught me to garden. He played guitar and harmonica,(sang like an angel in a choir) and taught me over 30 verses to "Mr. Frog Went A Courtin'" His favorite song was the "Tennessee Waltz" 'cause that was what played the first time he danced with my Mom. I can remember sitting on the landing (long after we were supposed to be in bed) watching my Mom and Dad dance to the music from a scratchy old radio in the living room.

My Dad never spank me, but some how I knew he would and that kept us all in line. He always made sure we had handmade toys or repaired, repainted cast-off bicycles for birthdays and Christmas. He would stand at the foot of the stairs on Christmas morning and shake an old set of sleigh bells and bellow out "Ho Ho Ho" and then "Thanks, see ya' next year, Santa!!"
(that is the way he always woke us up on Christmas Day; even long after we were too old to still believe. . . .

His big, calloused hands were skilled beyond belief. He could fix anything with a motor in it!!(car, truck, boat, air plane, lawn mower, washing machine, radio. . . . you get the idea) He did lovely, intricate cross-stitch and embrodery work. At nite in the winter months when the sun went down early and he couldn't work outside. I still have a Lord's Prayer with animals and Noah's Ark that he did when I was a young girl and it hung (as long as I can remember) above the big feathered I shared with my little sister, Delores.

As much as he loved his children; he worshiped his Grandkids!! And they loved "Grandpa" He wore bib overalls and always had a "surprise in the front bib pockets for them, or he would take out his old "pocket watch" and let them listen to tic, tic, or pop the face open to see the American Eagle inside.

He did not know his last three grandchildren or his Great Grandchildren and they would have loved him so. (and he, them)

I am sorry for having gone on, but I miss him more now than when he first died. I know he was my Dad and I am biased, but he was a BIG, "Big" man.
I am sure that anything in Heaven that has a motor is "humming" since Wallace Ward Way arrived . . . .
post #2 of 18
Thank you, Darlene, for your beautiful and touching memorial to your father. Further words by me would be trite, as you've said it all.

post #3 of 18
Your father gave you values, love and integrity.
What a wonderful gift. I can see why you miss him now, more that when he first passed.
Your tribute made me realize how fortunate I was to have had my Dad.
God bless.......
Thank you!
post #4 of 18

What a touching tribute! I was feeling a little sad just the other day, as this will be the first year that I just pass by the Father's Day cards.

Although your father and mine led completely different lives, the sentiment of a grand human being was passed along.

I shall not take away from your post by writing here, yet I think I will post an excerpt that my dad wrote about his own life a few months before he died.

God Bless You,
post #5 of 18
Darlene, what a wonderful tribute to a great man. I can tell by your words just how much he loved his family and that is just the most beautiful thing in the world.
post #6 of 18
your post brought tears to my eyes. It was so beautiful. what a full, rich life your family led.

post #7 of 18
Deb, and TLK... this is my first fathers day without a father.
I so understand what you meant,Deb, about passing up the fathers day cards, for the first time ever.

And TLK....your tribute to your father was BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!

I have the feeling that both of your fathers are up in heaven visiting with my dad, saying..."Can you beleive our daughters got to know each other through a computer??"
And my dad says...." God works in mysterious ways!!!
post #8 of 18
Darlene, your story is touching. I pray for all of your fathers who are now in Heavens
post #9 of 18

That was beautiful. I am fortunate to still have my dad and I am thankful everyday for that. I am definately "Daddy's Little Girl" I think we have a special relationship. He and my mom moved to FL about eight years ago and I hate only seeing him twice a year, but that is better than nothing. It makes our visits all the more special.

post #10 of 18
[Please forgive me for disturbing this thread with a story of my own, but if I don't write this down now I never shall — at least not here at The Cat Site.]

My father died in 1956, when I was eleven years of age. I wish there had been home video-taping devices back then! I don't remember the sound of his voice, anymore.

I do remember him visually. I can see him standing there, having come home from work in New York city on the train, wearing his fedora and overcoat and also wearing a broad smile. He was always happy to see us kids.

And, he'd seemingly-always have some little present for us. The one I distinctly remember was a small bottle containing a tiny human figure, which would "dive" when the bottle's top was pressed and "surface" when it was released.

I know now he had faults — just like the rest of us — but I also know he was what people in those days called "a good man." He graduated Magna cum laude from Fordham; and he'd been studying for the priesthood at a seminary when he met my mother.

They married in 1931. My brother Terry (Terence Michael Haran) was born in 1938, I in 1944. My mother had several miscarriages prior to Terry's arrival.

My father, "Joe" as he was called by one and all (but not us kids of course, to whom he was "Dad"), loved New York and the big-city life. But he had cardio-vascular problems and his physician told him to leave the big city and lead a more, shall we say, sedate life.

We moved to a small town all right (Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey), but Dad continued to commute to his job in New York. He couldn't give up the big city.

Well, it all finally got the better of him. I still remember, as if it had just happened: My father was lying in bed in the front bedroom. The doctor went with my mother to the telephone in the kitchen and talked quietly into the receiver. Then, the siren sounded (the air-raid siren which always sounded when emergency-service vehicles were called out). Then, some men came in and my father — seemingly unconscious and making gurgling sounds — was taken through our living room in a litter and out the front door to the ambulance. That was the last time I saw him.

A few days later, when I was down the block playing with a couple of my friends, my brother came along and told me to come home right away. My mother was waiting. She looked very sad. She said, "You haven't got a daddy anymore." My mother broke down in tears. I did not, nor have I since. It was too stunning for me to comprehend.

Thirty-five years later, my mother told me this: In hospital, the doctors informed her that her husband would never recover; and should he continue to live he would be "a vegetable." Our family's physician then handed my mother "a little white pill" and told her it would end her husband's suffering. They left her alone to consider all this.

"Joe was a very active man," she told me. "He wouldn't be able to stand living that way." She told him she loved him, she kissed him; and she gave him the pill.


[I've edited this post to reflect the correct year of my brother's birth, which is 1938 and not 1936 as I'd mistakenly indicated originally.]
post #11 of 18
That too was a beautiful story. It really brought tears to my eyes.

post #12 of 18
Those are two absolutely beautiful stories. Thank you so much for posting those and letting us all get a glimpse of these special men in your lives. These stories make me want to go hug my Dad. I thank God that he's still alive (and young).

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
My Friend Joe: I am pleased that you decided to place this post about your Father in my thread. I know what you mean when it "took awhile for you to decide to post this". . . . . I formed what I would say about my Dad over and over in my head before coming up with this. I welcome anyone who wants to share about their Dad; to do so here. I thank all of you for your kind comments. My heart is with those of you who have lost your Fathers. To those of you who have them with you take advantage of the "Modern Technology" that Mr. Cat referred to and get your Dads on tape to preserve them for your children and grandchildren. . . . .

Also, everyone read AirPrincess' thread about honoring our lost loved ones thru new traditions. . . . observed on special holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries. My folks would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this Aug. 28th and my Brothers and Sisters and I are planning a special "Family Reunion/Party to honor them.
post #14 of 18
That was simply beautiful, Joe.
post #15 of 18
Thank you for sharing those beautiful stories! I was really moved!
post #16 of 18
Joe..... your story nearly broke my heart. It was as if I were living it with you. I feel so bad to complain that I had my father for only 33 years (almost 34) when you only had your father for 11.

your story, Joe, touched my heart...and can't stop thinking about it....I am so sorry.
post #17 of 18
Thank you, dear friend, for your heartfelt expression of sympathy. My mother died in 1992, so I understand how the death of a parent can be devastating no matter a survivor's age at the time.

In this era of cynicism and manufactured scandal, where gossip is considered the highest form of human achievement and people are encouraged to belittle everyone, I'm fortunate in that I shall always retain my childhood image of my father. Neither latent jealousy nor trendy small-mindedness can touch him, so in a way he and I are the lucky ones.

post #18 of 18
What a beautiful thread, Darlene, thank you.

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